Today, medicine acknowledges the power of the mind over the body to produce disease. This group of diseases are called psycho-somatic and include tension headaches, hyperacidity, hypertension, palpitation, sleeplessness, loss of appetite and chronic fatigue. Now, if the mind is capable of producing a disease, it is very likely that it is also capable of reversing a disease given the right stimulus and circumstances. Placebos and nocebos work on this principle.
The placebo effect is a phenomenon where your symptoms can be reduced or got rid of, by an otherwise ineffective treatment, because you believe or expect that the treatment will work. Placebos are usually inert substances [like sugar or chalk] which by themselves have no medicinal action on the human body. But if your doctor tells you that these are real and effective medicines, which can cure you of your disease, and if you truly believe this, then they may actually work for you. This phenomenon cannot be explained on scientific terms, because the substance being administered is chemically inert and incapable of producing any effects. Such a substance, when given to others, does not produce the same effect, unlike a medicine such as aspirin or paracetamol, which will uniformly reduce fever and pain in anyone it is given to.
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A version of this was first published in the February 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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